Preview: #5 Maryland vs. #12 South Dakota State

#5 Maryland vs. #12 South Dakota State

Friday, 4:30 PM

TBS

The brackets were announced yesterday and one of the more intriguing 5 v. 12 matchups is Maryland vs. South Dakota State. Historically the 5 v. 12 seed matchup tends to be a popular upset pick and for good reason. In the past four NCAA tournaments the 12 seed has upset the 5 seed eight times. Leaving the record for 5 seeds only 8-8 in the past four years. Maryland finished the season 25-8 and lost to eventual Big Ten champion Michigan State in their conference semifinals. South Dakota State clinched a share of the regular season title and won the conference title in the Summit league while going 26-7. Maryland has ended the regular season on a bit of a slide losing four of its last six including games against Minnesota and home against Wisconsin. They seemed to pick up their play a little in the Big Ten tournament setting the single game points record with 97 vs. Nebraska. They cannot afford to sleep on the jackrabbits or else they won’t make it past the first weekend for the second year in a row.

Match-Up to Watch

The key matchup to watch will be Jake Layman of Maryland vs. Mike Daum of South Dakota State. Daum is the leading scorer for the jackrabbits averaging 15 points per game and shooting 45% from three. Although he comes off the bench, Maryland cannot afford to let him get hot from three. Look for the jackrabbits to increase his minutes if the game stays close.  Layman struggled his last time out against Michigan State, scoring only nine points on 2-8 shooting. But he did slow down the shooting of Bryn Forbes who went 0-4 from beyond the arc. Both Layman and Daum are similar in stature at 6’ 9”. His size and length will need to play a role on defense if Maryland wants to avoid the upset. If South Dakota State wants any chance of winning this game they will need to help Daum get open on the perimeter early and often.

 

X-Factor for Maryland

This one is a no brainer for Maryland. Diamond Stone needs to touch the ball on every possession. South Dakota State plays will a smaller lineup and Stone has two inches and twenty pounds on Ian Theisen, the man more than likely responsible for the assignment of guarding Stone. By feeding Stone in the post it might force the jackrabbits to send double teams which will leave shooters open all over the perimeter. If Stone gets his touches, it is going to be really difficult for South Dakota State to compete.

 

X-Factor for South Dakota State

Since South Dakota State plays with a smaller lineup it is key for their guards to play at the same level as the terrapins’ guards. That is a tall order for George Marshall and Deondre Parks of South Dakota State. Both are experienced seniors who can handle the pressure of a big game. By themselves they account for almost 40% of the jackrabbits’ offense which they will need to replicate against NBA-bound point guard Melo Trimble and veteran two-guard Rasheed Sulaimon.

 

Key Stat

A lot of the jackrabbits’ offense is predicated on getting to the free throw line. They are 35th in the country in free throws made, 64th in free throws attempted, and 38th in free throw percentage at just under 74%. But Maryland is one of the best teams in the country at not committing fouls with a rank of 43. If Maryland can keep South Dakota State off the free throw line, then it is going to be a long day for the jackrabbits.

 

Prediction

At first glance, this seems like a game that could be a popular upset pick for brackets across the country. But by taking a closer look, the matchups fit well for Maryland and their strengths play into the hands of South Dakota State’s strengths. If Diamond Stone gets his touches and the terrapins can keep them off the free throw line then they should be able to advance to the weekend. I got Maryland 77 South Dakota state 66.

 

Nicholas Prainito

University of Maryland, Class of 2019

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